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Herbivores as drivers of negative density dependence in tropical forest saplings

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Science  15 Mar 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6432, pp. 1213-1216
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau9460

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Herbivores shape tropical forests

In tropical forests, high local tree diversity is driven by negative density dependence, a process whereby plant performance is inhibited by closely related neighbors. Negative density dependence could be caused by competition for resources among neighbors or result from shared herbivores and pathogens. Using data from forest plots in Panama, Forrister et al. compared the contributions of these mechanisms. They found no effect of competition, but strong effects of plant chemistry and shared herbivores on coexisting Inga tree species.

Science, this issue p. 1213